From the start of this article, it’s best to be clear and honest so let’s take a look at what constitutes SEO Services.
SEO campaigns are like fingerprints; no two are the same in any town, city or country.
If you have approached an SEO company that has given you an off-the-shelf campaign run in the same way they run others in the same sector or field, you have potential problems.
Not only is this likely to cost you money, but it can also damage your online presence for months, if not years to come.
A custom solution is what every website owner needs and deserves. Here are some examples of what needs to be considered:
- Your Website
- Your Competition
- Your Industry(s)
- Any Niche You May Work In
- Your Products and Services
- Your Position in Both Local, Nationwide and/or Global Marketplaces
- Any Existing SEO Conducted
- Any Other Reasons You Should Stand Out from the Competition
However, it is common for most businesses to require the services of an SEO Agency to help with:
- Keyword Analysis, Research and Implementation
- Onsite Technical SEO
- Link Building Both Internally and Externally
- Content Optimisation and Possibly Creation
TIP1: When looking to hire an SEO agency, ask if they have previous experience in your field and referrals or case studies you can see.
TIP2: Always ask what they think the strengths and weaknesses of your website are. That will assure you they have done their due diligence and proper analysis.
Keywords – Research And Analysis
So let’s start at the beginning, Keywords—a pre-requisite to getting a quote from an SEO Agency and a proposal for an SEO campaign.
When users type a search into a search engine, the industry refers to them as keywords and queries.
Optimising your website and its content to empower these keywords or phrases will affect your ranking on the search engine results pages, commonly known as (SERPs).
Keyword research has become more in-depth today than in years past with many more statistical tools at the hands of an SEO team.
They will be able to see common search terms in and around your industry and niche and evaluate the competition simultaneously.
TIP1: If you have a modest budget, but your SEO Agency is spending, or looking to spend your budget on super competitive keywords or long-tail keyword phrases – ask why? Especially if you are up against larger companies with bigger marketing budgets.
TIP2: Take a close look through any proposal to see what keywords their campaign will target and ask to see the level of competition against each one. And question any strategy, remember it’s your marketing budget.
Do You Provide Onsite And Technical SEO?
Onsite and technical SEO is an ideal starting point for a company if you are a new website or need to overhaul existing SEO practices and recent campaigns.
These specific services assess and break down your sites liabilities that may be holding you back from ranking as high as possible. They access the SERPs themselves and monitor your industry best practices.
To be able to propose an effective SEO strategy and campaign, your SEO company should provide the following services:
- Assess your Site’s Code
- Access your Sites Structure
- Assess your Sites Content
- Assess your Site’s Activity and Patterns with Users
Once assessed, they should propose or already be fixing any issues to make you compliant and favourable to Google and its Googlebots.
TIP1: If you have an SEO agency and are not seeing results, question what they think could be done better with the website to help improve your rankings. Wait for the answer.
TIP2: This is a must-ask question if you are looking at starting a campaign. What changes are needed to my website to make it Google-Friendly? They should have a list of immediate answers.
Content: Optimisation And Engagement
To ensure your potential audience can see you online, you must have accurate, informative pages with relevant and engaging content.
Each of the pages on your website needs to be optimised to ensure visibility when users are searching, based upon:
- Searcher Intent
- On-page Search Factors
- User Experience (UX)
- Preferred Format and More…
So, with an SEO agency, they should look to include services based upon designing and creating Web Pages with consideration to:
- Keyword Research
- Industry and Niche Analysis
- Your individual and Business Goals
TIP1: Optimisation and SEO now go hand-in-hand. Understand you can have a whole team working on SEO. Still, it will have little effect if your pages and website are not optimised for both mobile and laptop/desktop for searches.
TIP2: Google favour optimised websites, pages and engaging content – For an existing campaign, ask your team when was the last time anything was optimised on your site. Anything over three months should ring alarm bells if you are not seeing results.
Link Building – Internal And External
It’s not just engaging content and a fast-loading website that means your SEO campaign will succeed and quickly.
Google looks for credible and plentiful links with other relevant websites showing that you have authority in your field.
These links can be seen as a kind of endorsement of your business, practices and quality pages and content.
They are commonly acquired by an SEO company reaching out to others within your field to add informative content in the form of a ‘Guest Post’. Therefore, the other company agrees and creates the link by posting your information on their website.
Therefore, the more credible links your site has, the better chance of Google ranking you higher for its user’s searches.
Internal links on your site also work by the sample principle. Suppose you point an internal link enough times to a particular page. In that case, a Googlebot will view that page and grade its importance higher.
However, be careful in 2022 to overuse them due to Google Updates in 2021.
TIP1: Ask your current SEO Agency how many links they are currently generating per month and ensure you have a monthly report showing the work being conducted.
TIP2: Ensure that if you are in the process of hiring an SEO Agency, this is a question you bring up. Ask them how they plan to build backlinks, and expect a prompt answer.
Questions To Ask Upfront
The initial interview and assessment process is possibly the most crucial time to ensure you hire the right SEO agency to fulfil your requirements.
Here I will list several questions and ideas to ask any potential SEO agency or team. For people reading this article and already in an unproductive SEO campaign, here are some tips and questions to ask your current team to see if they are conducting best practices.
Remember in SEO, 1 size does NOT fit all!
During the interview process, this is your chance to see if the SEO expert(s) have the same passion for your industry and business that you do.
I call it the cheat sheet. Some of these questions may raise a red flag or, alternatively assure you they can or are doing what they should.
Process and Execution
- Do you have in-house content writers?
- How do you decide how to conduct the SEO campaign?
- How can you find to identify the correct link building targets?
- What information do you require my team and me to provide?
- Do you buy links? If so, is that included in your proposal price?
- Will you create new content for me, or optimise what I have or both?
- Can you break down the specific strategy in words I can understand?
- Can you itemise each service you provide and what portion of the monthly/quarterly charges are spent on each one?
The SEO Companies Culture
- Are you following Google Webmaster Guidelines?
- Do your team have previous experience in writing similar content for other brands?
- What kind of timeframe are you expecting to see results within, and what kind of result do you expect?
- What tools are you using, and what platforms?
- How many reports will I get regarding metrics and KPIs?
- How often will I get a report? Will it be monthly?
- Can I get real-time links to see the progress of my campaign daily?
- How many backlinks are you expecting to attain each month?
- Who at the company will be my primary contact that knows everything about my campaign?
- What is the length of your contracts?
- What happens if you fail to meet the target put forward in your proposal?
- Do you have a monthly payment plan?
Referrals and References
- How many years have you been in business?
- What types of industries have you covered?
- Have you worked in my sector or niche?
- Can I have referrals from previous companies you have represented?
- Can you provide me with some case studies and examples of prior work?
Finding the right SEO agency to partner with and work together for the betterment of your business can be difficult. If you are currently in an unsuccessful SEO relationship, use this guide and tips to ask hard questions.
When you get SEO right, the inbound leads and sales will increase rapidly. Still, it needs continual work on the SEO side and continual fresh information from the business; 2022 is an exciting time for online business but it’s a part of your business that must be kept on top of at all times: bear that in mind and good luck!